Creation: The Path of a God
"My Lady!" One of the City Wall Company guards noticed her and quickly bowed. Rushing to approach her, "My Lady, we are glad you have returned safely."
Smiling and nodding her head, "Thank you. I must head in to see the Student Council." Though she appreciated the warm welcome, she imagined that Samantha would not be happy with her -- delaying her lecture from the Council.
"Of course!' He awkwardly smiled, likely understanding what would happen after the Lady Knight had left the City.
"Before I continue, I would like you to convey my concern about the prospective students and their families. I have seen numerous families without basic necessities." She couldn't help but frown, feeling that such a lack of duty had shamed the City. "I understand that it is not under the purview of the City Wall Company, but I would like you to talk to your commander and have you work with the Peacekeeper Company. Members of the Disciplinary Committee will be sent to ensure that those who come to Illumin are treated respectfully." Seeing the guard beginning to wilt from her lecture, she remembered that the guards were likely trying their best and not doing anything out of malice. Softening her voice, "All of you are part of our great City, and although things have become busier, I believe you will be able to ascend to the occasion."
The guard's eyes were looking down during the lecture, but near the end, he looked up at her and smiled. Saluting, "I apologize for not meeting your expectation. We have failed Illumin and will make the necessary changes to redeem ourselves."
Raising a hand, she couldn't help but feel warmth in her chest, happy that she could lead such people who shared her love for the people. Continuing through the gate, her eyes wandered to look at the grand entrance into the City. Like many other large cities, the security measures were numerous, not just to protect against invading forces but also against the ocean of monsters that appeared during the Overflow. One of the doors was thicker than a person lying on the ground, taking a significant amount of time to close, but once it sealed the gate, not even the strongest of monsters would be able to damage it. There was also a portcullis that could quickly close and provide time for the main barrier to move into place. The gate was like a tunnel into the City. It was massive enough that even fifty horses could line up comfortably inside it.
She looked and saw some wagons off to the side in carved-out wall sections where further investigations could be made. With the thick wall, there was enough space to hold offices inside and even house people who had committed crimes. As she moved away from the beginning of the gate, the light slowly began to dim, and large mana lamps were hung to provide illumination for everyone doing their jobs.
As people went about their duties, they occasionally greeted her before returning to what they were doing, which she enjoyed seeing. Despite her position, she had never been the type to flaunt her political power inside the City. It was why she didn't mind that not everyone ran up to greet her as she made her way through the entrance.
Even with the people camping outside the walls, everyone was busy admitting merchants, residents, and visitors into the City. She watched as members of the City Wall Company ran back and forth with documents or merchants filling out their information about their purpose and how long their visit would be. There were also lines of students returning for their assignments or duties with the Adventurer's Guild. Though other cities were similar in filtering people coming and going, it was nowhere close to the number of safeguards put into place inside Illumin. It was something she was proud of as the Lady Knight, having the knowledge that people inside Illumin would be secure from danger.
Soon, the light began to increase as they reached the other side. Just like when they first entered, another line of people was waiting to leave the City, talking with the City Wall Company guards. She nodded her head to the members of the Company before entering the outer area of Illumin.
Compared to Leaf Village, Illumin was entirely different, just with the number of people and structures housed inside the City. Though the sun provided some light, the outer area was still covered in shadow from the wall and the multiple levels. Using the wall as a support structure, levels were created in order to properly use the limited space inside the City. Looking up at the different levels, she watched as wagons traveled the paths after being lifted up with large elevators to help them reach where they needed to travel.
On the ground street, staring at the numerous levels above her was like being at the bottom of a canyon. She could see the bridges connecting different parts of the levels, allowing people to navigate their way through the maze. Walking along the paths or crossing the bridges, humans and non-humans of various species went about their day.
Despite the large number of people walking on the main path, they quickly stepped out of her way when they noticed her insignia. Some of the people moving out of her way had smiles, but the number of happy people was balanced with those who looked with distrust. The mana lamps hanging on various poles and walls created shadows on their faces, giving the ones with frowns a more menacing appearance.
Passing by shops, Valessandria noticed students inside them. The ones she saw picking out food gave information about their financial situation. She gripped her fist, angered by the difference in opportunities between those with financial means and those without. It did make her appreciate that the Adventurer's Guild had a branch inside Illumin since it enabled those who didn't have funds to earn a living and help support their educational expenditures.
Moving deeper into the City, the number of levels above them began to decrease. She couldn't help but feel her mood lift, feeling the warmth on her skin. There was also a decrease in mana lamps turned on, with more of the light reaching the ground level. As they made their way closer to the Academy, the surrounding noise decreased and gave a calmer air.
With the number of levels decreasing, she could begin to see the wall of the Academy. They weren't as imposing as the wall around the City, but they still served the purpose of separating the City into an inner and outer area. The closer they approached the walls, she noticed more students hanging out at cafes with their friends or shopping for supplies for their classes.
She couldn't help but think of her circumstances when she arrived at Illumin, hanging out with friends close to the wall, enjoying the sticks of meat the stores sold where they played. There often weren't places for people to sit and relax as they enjoyed their food. However, some business owners had worked together to build counters on which people could place their meals while they stood and ate. But closer to the Academy, a few of the cafes had a sectioned-off area where customers could comfortably sit together as they enjoyed meals that she hadn't been exposed to until much later in her life -- closer to when she became the Lady Knight. A feeling of bitterness bubbled inside her, knowing that the other council members were raised in an environment where they could casually dine and not be concerned about when their next meal would arrive.